Alexander McQueen Biography
Died At Age: 40
Sun Sign: Pisces
Also Known As: Lee Alexander McQueen, Lee McQueen
Born in: Lewisham
Famous as: Fashion designer
Spouse/Ex-: George Forsyth
father: Ronald McQueen
mother: Joyce McQueen
place of death: Mayfair, London
City: London, England
Cause of Death: Suicide
Founder/Co-Founder: Alexander McQueen
education: Central Saint Martins, Rokeby Preparatory School
Alexander McQueen was a British fashion designer and couturier who was known to push fashion's limits to unknown extremes, and present shows that had equal pints of shocks, surprises, emotional power and raw energy in them. In his childhood he often used to design dresses for his elder sisters and dream about becoming a designer someday. He brought drama and extravagance to the catwalk and his designs displayed contrasting elements like fragility and strength, tradition and modernity, and fluidity and severity. The skills he learned as an apprentice at Savile Row helped earn him the reputation of an expert in creating an impeccably tailored look. His collections combined an in-depth working knowledge of British tailoring, fine workmanship of the French haute couture atelier and the impeccable Italian finishing. Such was his impact on the fashion world that even years after his death he is still considered a legend and his designs continue to live on. A designer of phenomenal international fame, he had boutiques at all major fashion-hubs in the world including London, New York, Los Angeles, Milan and Las Vegas. Nicole Kidman, Penelope Cruz, Sarah J Parker, and Rihanna are just some of the celebrities who have donned his attires
- Alexander McQueen was born on March 17, 1969 in Lewisham, London and was the youngest of six siblings. His father, Ronald, was a taxi driver and his mother, Joyce, was a social science teacher.
- He attended Carpenter's Road Primary School and Rokeby School. In 1985, he left school for an apprenticeship with the traditional Savile Row tailors ‘Anderson & Shephard’. He also served his apprenticeship at ‘Gieves and Hawkes’ and at ‘Angels and Bermans’.
- From his apprenticeship at Angels and Bermans, McQueen mastered six methods of pattern cutting and developed his signature razor-sharp tailoring. He then moved on to work with Koji Tatsuno for a year and thereafter became design assistant of famous Italian fashion designer Romeo Gigli.
- He earned his master's degree in fashion design from London's Central Saint Martin’s in 1992 and his graduation collection was bought entirely by Isabella Blow, an influential fashion stylist of the time.
- He started his own business, designing clothes for women, and introduced “bumster pants”, named so because of their extremely low-cut waistline.
- After the launch of his first collection he shifted to Hoxton and launched his second and third collections, named, 'McQueen's Theatre of Cruelty' and 'The Birds', respectively.
- McQueen designed wardrobes for singer David Bowie's 1996–97 tour and the coat that Bowie was wearing on the cover of his album 'Earthling' was also designed by him.
- He worked on the Icelandic singer Bjork's album cover for the album ‘Homogenic’ and directed one of the songs from the album, 'Alarm Call'.
- One of his early collections, titled 'Highland Rape' earned him the reputation of being a controversial character and he was given the moniker 'the hooligan of English fashion'.
- In 1996, McQueen became the head designer of the Louis Vuitton Givenchy fashion line. His first collection at Givenchy was not very successful.
- His 1998 Autumn collection show caused controversy when he included double amputee model Aimee Mullins striding down the catwalk on intricately carved wooden legs.
- In December 2000, GUCCI acquired 51 percent stake in Alexander McQueen’s private company and McQueen became the Creative Director. Shortly afterwards, McQueen left the Givenchy. The partnership opened new stores in London, Milan and New York and also launched their new perfumes, Kingdom and My Queen.
- His most celebrated show was the 2001 Spring/Summer collection, 'VOSS' where a naked model sat on a chaise longue wearing a gas mask inside a huge glass box containing moths. As the show commenced, the walls fell away and smashed on the ground and took everyone by surprise.
- In 2005, he collaborated with the German-multinational company Puma for a special line of trainers and a year later launched 'McQ' a younger and lower-priced label for men and women.
- Alexander McQueen was one of the youngest designers to achieve the 'British Designer of the Year' Award in 1996. He went on to win the award three more times.
- In 2003, he was awarded ‘Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire’ (CBE) in honour of his contribution to the fashion industry.
- He won the 'CFDA Award for Best International Designer' in 2003 and the 'Men's Wear Designer of the Year' award in 2004.
- Alexander McQueen was openly gay. In 2000 he married George Forsyth, a documentary filmmaker in Ibiza. But it wasn't official as Spain held 'same-sex marriage' as illegal then. They separated after a year and remained good friends.
- On February 11, 2010, he was found hanging at his home by his housekeeper and was pronounced dead by the doctors who arrived at the scene. The police record suggested drug over-dose and slashing of the wrists with a ceremonial dagger.
- His funeral took place on February 25, 2010 at St. Paul's Church, Knightsbridge, West London and the ashes were scattered at the Isle of Skye.
- He left £50,000 for his pet dogs and bestowed £100,000 each to four charities including the Battersea Dogs and Cats Home in south London, and the Blue Cross animal welfare charity in Burford, Oxfordshire.
- Pop musician Lady Gaga dedicated a song to him titled 'Fashion of His Love' in the special edition of her album 'Born This Way'
- A posthumous exhibition of McQueen’s work titled' Savage Beauty' was hosted by The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York in 2011.
- Alexander McQueen had a net worth of $30 million.
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